I guess I understand why people don’t want to fill out the census: We have enough homework assigned every night –why should we have to complete yet ANOTHER assignment? And we don’t even get credit for this one!
Well, we actually kind of do.
Penn State – University Park students make up roughly 75% of the State College population. This basically means that if we students don’t mail the census back, then 75% of State College doesn’t exist in the Census Bureau’s eyes.
How does that affect you personally? Why should you care?
Here’s a thought: Have you ever used a CATA bus? The amount of grants and funding that CATA receives is partially based on the findings of the census. Remember that time that you waited practically 238 hours for the bus? It may have been because there was just one bus running at that hour. What’s to say that more funding might not provide more buses? It may or may not work like that (OK – more than likely not), but being counted in the census certainly won’t hurt CATA!
And filling out the census really won’t hurt you either. Yes, it takes about ten minutes of your time to fill out and send back (did I mention that you send it back in a pre-paid envelope?), but the potential long-term benefits of those ten minutes are worth it–not only for you, but for our entire State College community.
Off-campus students (those living in apartments/houses) should have already received not one, but two censuses (just in case you “accidentally” trashed the first one). On-campus students should be receiving their Individual Census Report shortly, which is an even SHORTER questionnaire. The 2010 Census Bureau’s website has a lot of great resources to both explain why completing the census in college is important and also to help you fill it out if you’re confused (though most of the questions are extremely straightforward).
And if you’re wondering whether you should send back your own census or just be counted at home on your parents’ census, SEND BACK YOUR OWN. Not that you don’t love your hometown, but since you live here most of the year, you really should be represented in your current community rather than your old one. So even if you think your parents may have already counted you on their’s, just fill out your own anyway.
Trust me–we all know that this method of census count has its flaws and won’t be entirely accurate, but let’s take advantage of it and get what we can for State College in the process.
[Photo Credit: Kari Haffelfinger]